UKPC/FCYA - Toronto

Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto Chapter

Monday, February 27, 2006

GMA has not been good to the Filipino youth; we say lift Proclamation 1017, oust GMA!

Statement on GMA’s declaration of a “state of emergency” in the Philippines
February 27, 2006

Militant greetings from the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance Toronto Chapter! Today we stand together with the Filipino people in condemning Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017, and in calling for her immediate ouster.

Since President Arroyo’s declaration of the state of emergency, youth and student leaders have been targeted by the police and military. Progressive youth organization Anakbayan reports that since last Friday, they have been receiving reports and complaints “against the presence of SWAT and armed military teams scattered around [the University of the Philippines in] Diliman and [the Polytechnic University of the Philippines] in Sta. Mesa. [These police and military] were allegedly on the lookout for youth and student leaders from the respective universities.”

But GMA has not done anything good for Filipino youth since she came to power; in fact she has only worsened our situation. She has promoted the increase of tuition fees in private schools, leading to a total of 16.5 million student drop-outs; allocated only 14% of the national budget to education, while using 33% for debt servicing; and continued to promote a colonial style of education. Youth also continue to face unemployment, and those who are working face the reality of low wages, contractualization and lay-offs. Peasant youth continue to experience landlessness and displacement. And GMA’s aggressive peddling of cheap Filipino labour to other countries has continued to severely impact the children of migrant workers.

The harassment of youth under the current “state of emergency” is not a new phenomenon. Since GMA stepped into power, she has sanctioned grave human rights abuses against youth leaders who have spoken out against her corrupt and rotten regime, as well as ordinary civilian youth.

October 13, 2005. Youth and student rallies in Mendiola were violently dispersed. 15 demonstrators were arrested by police.
April 30, 2005. A 15-year old girl was raped by a member of the Scout Ranger unit based in Bilar Town, Bohol province. This was but one of of a series of rapes of teenage girls in neighbouring towns in the province, by military personnel.
March 07, 2005. Mer Dizon, Anakbayan Zambales chairperson, was abducted and illegally detained by Philippine Army soldiers.
January 2005. Anakbayan members Alberto Canedo and Jun Rey Reducto were killed by bicycle-riding vigilantes.
April 09, 2004. Ronalyn Olea, president of the College Editors' Guild of the Philippines, was dragged by a soldier on a motorcycle in Angeles City, Pampanga..
March 05, 2004. A 16-yr-old girl was sexually abused, and her fiancée Levy Caganda interrogated by military personnel in Del Carmen, Lagonoy, Camarines Sur.
September 23, 2003. Marjorie Reynoso, 18; Jonathan Benaro, 16; Lito Doydoy, 27 – all Anakbayan members and community leaders – along with and tricycle driver Ramon Regase Jr., were abducted, tortured and murdered by suspected military personnel.

These examples only comprise a very small portion of the crimes committed by the Arroyo regime against the Filipino people.

As youth who recognize the importance of learning from our history, we see that President Arroyo’s Proclamation of a State of Emergency, or Proclamation 1017, is no different from the former dictator Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in 1972. Mrs. Arroyo has clearly proven that she is an enemy of the Filipino people, and Proclamation 1017 is a last desperate attempt to quell the growing people’s resistance. But like the youth of the First Quarter Storm who were instrumental in toppling the Marcos dictatorship, we also vow to fight Mrs. Arroyo’s fascist regime and to continue to struggle for our people’s genuine liberation.

We call on our fellow youth to continue in this revolutionary tradition, and we unite with the broad masses of the Filipino people in demanding that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lift Proclamation 1017, and immediately resign from her position as president of the Philippines.

Lift Proclamation 1017!
Stop the illegal arrests of youth and student leaders and other progressive leaders!
Uphold the Filipino people’s democratic rights!
President Arroyo, resign now or be ousted!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Never again to Martial Law!
Defend the rights of the Filipino people!

Photo from rally commemorating EDSA 1 in the Philippines, Friday, February 24.
Courtesy of Arkibong Bayan

Dear Friends,

As progressive Filipino-Canadians, we condemn Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's declaration of a State of Emergency" in the Philippines last February 24, 2006. Arroyo made the declaration on the 20th anniversary of People Power 1 as thousands gathered at the EDSA shrine.

As a desperate measure to stay in power and to quell the growing Oust Arroyo movement, Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo once again proves her willingness to terrorize the broad masses and impose an all-out war against the Filipino people. It is through this declaration that the Arroyo regime will continue to wreak havoc in the country by suppressing people's democratic rights, intensifying human rights violations, and implementing more fascist, anti-people policies.

The warrantless arrest of Anakpawis Partylist Representative Crispin (Ka Bel) Beltran, the government closure of Daily Tribune, and the arrests of other rallyists yesterday point to a martial law environment that is perpetuated by the fascist, corrupt and fake Arroyo regime. We call on all peace-loving, progressive and democratic organizations and individuals to be vigilant in defending our people's democratic and human rights.

We, overseas Filipinos, women, workers and youth, call for an urgent show of support and solidarity for the Filipino people by joining us at a rally at 3 p.m., Monday February 27, 2006, in front of the Philippine Consulate in Toronto, 161 Eglinton Avenue East (Eglinton & Redpath).

We need your solidarity and support as thousands of people in the Philippines are marching in the streets to call for President Arroyo's ouster, despite the threat of dispersal and more arrests that now looms because of the declaration of State of Emergency.

For more information, contact: Joy C. Sioson (Philippine Women Centre of Ontario - 416-878-8772;; Ricky Esguerra (Philippine Network for Justice and Peace - 416-418-1577;; Marco Luciano (SIKLAB Ontario -

Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
SIKLAB Ontario (Advance, Uphold the Rights of Overseas Filipino Workers)
Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto Chapter (UKPC/FCYA-TO)
Philippine Network for Justice and Peace

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

NEWS: Filipino-Canadians condemn Philippine official blaming people for Leyte disaster

National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada
SIKLAB - Canada
Press Release

February 21, 2006

A network of progressive Filipino-Canadian organizations condemned the statements of Malyn Tumonong, a Senior Science Research Specialist with Department of Environment & Natural Resources in the Philippines, which virtually blamed the people of the village of Ginsaugon, Southern Leyte for their own deaths.

In a stunning admission during a nationally-broadcast interview by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) yesterday, the official said the people of the Southern Leyte village should have known there was an impending disaster and should have taken their “own initiatives to evacuate the area.”

“We expect people to be more vigilant,” said Tumunong. She said that because it had been raining in the area for two weeks beforehand, the people should have been, “more aware of [their] surroundings,” and that “there were signs” the mudslide would happen.

When probed by the reporter, Tumunong denied any government responsibility for the tragedy saying, “our agency is not a warning agency” and that they “cannot do it at a very local level… [since] people are living quite far apart.”

“As Filipinos in Canada, we are appalled at this statement in the face of this tragedy,” said Cecilia Diocson, Executive Director of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC). “This statement clearly illustrates the Philippine government’s total neglect for the welfare of its own people,” she added.

“President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not take any measures to prevent this tragedy or to evacuate the area despite the DENR’s own admission that the disaster was waiting to happen,” said Rodderick Carreon, Chairperson of SIKLAB-Canada, a national formation of Filipino migrant workers. “The country is not prepared to deal with natural calamities like this one since most of the government budget goes towards servicing the foreign debt and not towards badly-needed social services,” he added.

According to reports only 0.1 percent of national budget is allotted to calamity funds.

The area was listed as a geo-hazard and a previous landslide resulted in 20 deaths occurred in the same area a week before. In 1991, the same province was the site of massive landslides and flooding which resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 people.

According to the groups, decades of large-scale logging have caused widespread deforestation all over the Philippines, resulting in flooding and landslides like the one in Leyte. Besides the government’s granting of permits to large-scale logging companies, the group also criticized the Philippine government’s non-sustainable agricultural policies which promote the cultivation of non-traditional cash crop agricultural products for export. Because of land conversion and land-grabbing, poor farmers are often driven upland to find a means of livelihood and engage in the ‘slash and burn’ method of upland farming.

“In her feverish bid to increase government revenues, President Arroyo has aggressively pushed for the opening of the country to logging and mining which has been responsible for the devastation and degradation of the Philippine landscape,” said Joy Sioson of the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario in another CBC interview.

Just a month ago, the government granted a logging permit to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile for several thousand hectares in the province of Samar, a neighboring island of Leyte.

Philippine forests currently cover less than three percent of the total land area.

The groups are calling for donations to be coursed to the area. In Vancouver, donations can be made at any Vancouver City Savings Credit Union branch to the account: “Leyte Disaster Relief Fund,” Account Number: 63487, Branch 28 or across Canada cheques can be made to: “Philippine Women Centre of BC” re: “Leyte Disaster Relief Fund,” and mailed to: 451 Powell Street, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1G7.

The groups also thanked the Canadian federal government and Manitoban provincial government who announced $300,000 and $100,000 in assistance to support recovery and rehabilitation in the Leyte disaster area.

- 30 -

For more information, please contact:

• VANCOUVER: Cecilia Diocson (NAPWC) or Ted Alcuitas (BC Commitee for Human Rights in the Philippines) at: 604-215-1103 or e-mail:
• MONTREAL: Roderick Carreon (SIKLAB - Quebec) at: 514-344-2709 or Joanne Vasquez (Philippine Women Centre of Quebec) at: 514-659-4300
• TORONTO: Joy Sioson, Philippine Women Centre of Ontario or Yolyn Valenzuela (SIKLAB - Ontario) at: 416-878-8772 or e-mail:

Monday, February 20, 2006


20 February 2006

We, the undersigned progressive Filipino organizations in Greater Toronto Area, express our deepest sorrow at the death of many people who were buried under a sea of mud before noon last Friday in the village of Guinsaugon, St. Bernard town, Southern Leyte province.

The deadly combination of mud, boulders and logs that cascaded very swiftly down the mountain wiped off the entire farming village of Guinsaugon, covering an area of nine square kilometers (3.5 square miles) and one of the 30 villages of St. Bernard. Once a vibrant rustic place, the village is now virtually erased from the map of the province, which is located at the eastern part of the Philippines.

We strongly believe that environmental destruction caused by massive commercial logging operations that date back to the 1970s heavily contributed to this latest devastating landslide. Deforestation, the conversion of forest land to agricultural, logging and mining use, systematically creates an unstable ground vulnerable to soil erosion, inundation, landslides and mudslides. With this as the backdrop and the fact that Southern Leyte is geographically located at the edge of the very unstable undersea Philippine Trench, the landslide in Guinsaugon is really a tragedy waiting to happen.

As of Sunday afternoon (local time), the gloomy number of deaths has reached 62, but over a thousand people are still trapped and feared dead under the rubble in an estimated 30-meter deep mud. Among these are over 200 elementary schoolchildren and their 40 teachers.

The team of various rescuers is still hoping to find survivors, but the rescue operations have been slowed-down due to bad weather conditions. Also, thousands of residents of nearby villages have been evacuated in the fear of another landslide due to continuous pouring of heavy rains for the past two weeks.

Survivors and people who are heavily affected by this catastrophe have been in a state of shock. They have lost their loved ones including their farms, all personal belongings and economic possessions. Nothing is left to them. The people in the area urgently need food, medicine, clothing and temporary shelter.

Thus, we appeal to all kindhearted individuals, especially our compatriots, to support us in this humanitarian endeavor. Donations in kind or in cash are welcome. Our organization chapters in the Vancouver area are setting up a trust fund to accept donations to be coursed to the disaster area. Donations of $25 or more can also be made to SAPED-PCDI* c/o 451 Powell Street, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1G7 and a tax receipt will be issued. For further information and to donate, please contact Yolyn Valenzuela (SIKLAB-Ontario) or Joy Sioson (PWC) at 416-878-8772.

SIKLAB-Ontario (Advance, Uphold the Rights of Overseas Filipino Workers)
Philippine Women Center of Ontario
UKPC/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto Chapter

*SAPED-PCDI, Shuswap Association for the Promotion of Eco-Development - Philippine Canada Development Initiative is a charitable society in Canada and the Philippines. It was established by Filipinos who have migrated and settled in Canada.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Carlos Bulosan Theatre presents
Tales From The Flipside
a night of
Readings, Rhymes, Rhythms & Ruminations
Written and Performed by Filipino-Canadian Artists

a member of UKPC/FYCA-Toronto

February 24th & 25th at 8PM
Tickets: $15 at the door
Kapisanan Philippine Center
3167 Augusta Ave (1 block west of Spadina, north of Dundas)

To reserve tickets in advance e-mail:

The Carlos Bulosan Theatre (CBT) presents, Tales From the Flipside: Readings, Rhymes, Rhythms and Ruminations written and performed by Filipino-Canadian artists. Tales from the Flipside 2006 showcases Filipino-Canadian performers, playwrights, poets and other artists, in an evening of spoken word, song dance and the scene readings from new plays-in-development.

Carlos Bulosan Theater is committed to creating new and innovative work that reflects a vibrant new generation of Filipino-Canadian artists. CBT seeks to encourage and develop Filipino-Canadian actors, playwrights, poets and other artists within the community.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Upcoming Events: February-April

***email or call 647-273-6553
for exact times and locations
***high school students: get your community service hours
by participating in these events

February 11: History of our Migration
Did you know that Filipinos are spread in 186 countries all over the world? ...there used to be a Filipino movie house on Queen Street West in the 1950's? ...we are now the 3rd largest visible minority community in Canada? This discussion explores the patterns of Filipino migration, and the reasons behind it. It also includes the 3 waves of Filipino migration to Canada, and the role of Filipino youth developing our community here.

March 15: Event in Commemoration of the International Day Against Police Brutality
Organized by the Justice for Jeffrey Coalition (J4J).
More details coming soon. Check
UKPC/FCYA-TO is a member of J4J.

March 25: Philippine History and Politics
Why does our community have yearly celebrations around June 12? What was the Philippine-American War? Who's GMA and why are the Filipino people trying to oust her? What does Philippine history have to do with us?

April 15: Racism/Anti-Racism 101
Some say they feel racism in their everyday lives; others say they've never experienced it at all. What exactly is racism and what role does it play in the lives of Filipino Canadian youth? What does racism mean to you?

April 29 (tentative date only): Filipino Canadian Youth Consultation
Identity. Migration. Alienation. Culture shock. Racism. ESL classes. Low-wage work. These words pop up when Filipino youth are asked about what factors affect their lives. We want to hear from you. Join us at this one day consultation and let's come up with ideas on how we can collectively work to address these issues.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Young Workers' Rights Update

that you're supposed to get a wage increase as of today, February 1?

This increase is part of the labour legislation introduced right after Dalton McGuinty became Premier of Ontario in 2004. The Ontario government announced that the hourly minimum wage will increase by 30 cents every year, until it reaches $8.00 in 2007.

This was a victory on the part of workers' rights and community organizations and concerned individuals - including those from the Filipino community - who had campaigned for the minimum wage increase. While the increased wage rates are still quite low compared to the cost of living, they are proof that working communities can be strong and powerful if we work collectively for our rights and welfare. It should also serve as an encouragement for us to continue doing so, especially since Filipino workers are among the lowest-paid, despite our high educational levels and qualifications.

So today, February 1...
* if you were earning the general minimum wage of $7.45/hour, it should become $7.75/hour.
* if you are under 18 and were earning the student minimum wage of $6.95/hour, it should become $7.25/hour.

Take a good look at your next paycheque to make sure it reflects this increase. If it doesn't, talk to your supervisor or manager. If that doesn't work, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be more than happy to help.

Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada /
Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto Chapter
Phone: (647) 273-6553